Though not himself a synesthete, prolific jazz composer and visual artist Rob Mazurek finds inspiration in the multi-sensory stimulation of synesthesia to experiment with unorthodox associations between sound, light, and color.
Experimental instrumental quintet Tortoise played a pair of hometown shows recently, performing in front of welcoming crowds at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. The incomparable rock-dub-jazz shape-shifter garnered a “This Week’s Best Albums” tag for its 2009 release Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey). Since then, it has released a 13-minute single (Ice Ice Gravy) and a Japan-only CD (Why Waste Time?).
As you wait for a new Tortoise full-length, check out photographerDrew Reynolds‘ captures from the performance, and then click on over and revisit guitarist Jeff Parker‘s late-2010 show with Andrew Bird right here.
Whistling, violin-toting troubadour Andrew Bird just finished a makeshift residency at Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian Church. Bird played three successive dates with Chicago jazz fixture and Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker. It’s not the first time that the cavernous venue has played host to Bird and his classically inspired pop, and judging by the reception — all three nights sold out far in advance — it won’t be the last.
Contributing photographers Sanchez and Kitahara captured these images of the December 15 performance.
Chicago Odense Ensemble: “Soup” [audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Chicago_Odense_Ensemble_Soup.mp3|titles=Chicago Odense Ensemble “Soup”]
Hajduch: Chicago Odense Ensemble is the latest foray of Rob Mazurek (Exploding Star Orchestra, Chicago Underground, Isotope 217)into large-group jazz fusion. He’s brought along some of his previous collaborators (Jeff Parker and Dan Bitney of Tortoise and Isotope 217; Matt Lux, also of Isotope 217) as well as some fresh faces (Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt of European psych band Causa Sui and percussionist Brian Keigher).
Producer/multi-instrumentalist Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried at Sea) and saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) have long and assorted ties in and around Chicago, where the two reside and contribute to the city’s vibrant underground.
Parker, in addition to his main gig in Minsk, has produced the likes of Pelican, Rwake, Unearthly Trance, Jai Alai Savant, Lair of the Minotaur, and Nachtmystium, and Lamont, outside of Yakuza, recently finished recording a solo album and regularly plays with other experimental metal and noise outfits (Decayist, Sick Gazelle) as well as improvised-jazz players (Jeff Parker, Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis).
Each man’s résumé is a mile long, and now the two have come together to pay tribute to Chicago’s late-’80s and early-’90s Wax Trax! industrial scene with their new project, Circle of Animals. A diverse and widely recognizable cast of drummers rounds out the lineup on this release, with names like Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste), John Herndon (Tortoise), John Merryman (Cephalic Carnage), and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) lending their talents.
Jazz drummer Scott Amendola has a new trio, rounded out by Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker and bass troubadour John Shifflett. The appropriately named Scott Amendola Trio is set to release its debut album — though hardly a debut for any of the members — Lift on October 18.
In the winter of 2008, Danish musicians Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt hunkered down in a Chicago studio with locals such as Jeff Parker and Dan Bitney of Tortoise, Matt Lux of Isotope 217, and composer/cornetist Rob Mazurek of Exploding Star Orchestra and Chicago Underground Duo.
Brought together by Brian Keigher, the group of all-stars combined their unique blend of styles in total improvisation, the result of which recalls Miles Davis‘ ventures in electronic music in the early ’70s. Loose ideas and grooves come together into well-developed electro-jazz soundscapes frequently punctuated by brilliant virtuosic solos.
It’s a pretty safe bet that whoever coined the phrase “post-punk” didn’t envision Nathan Bell‘s music. Likewise, it’s unlikely that the average banjo picker ever envisioned the instrument being manipulated to produce the array of sounds that Bell wrings from his instrument.